School Of Visual Arts
      EDITOR'S NOTE
I'll make this letter short because there's already a lot of good conversation going on over at our Weekly Players forum section, where filmmaker and, now, author Jon Reiss is answering questions from all of you on DIY distribution and marketing. How DIY revenues work, the new "touring model" for filmmakers, semi-theatrical and co-sponsored screenings, how to structure deferrals, and what Jon is planning as the next step in his distribution ventures - all are being discussed. On Tuesday, Jon appears in person at The IFC Center in New York at 6:00 PM to present a live seminar, the first in our three-part series, "A New World: A User's Guide for Filmmakers and Audiences." His presentation is entitled, like his book, "Think Outside the Box Office," and it will be a focused presentation on how to create unique distribution and marketing plans for independent films. Jon will explain both do-it-yourself and hybrid approaches and will outline what filmmakers need to do to prepare for distribution while making their films. Finally he will lay out ways in which filmmakers can take back and redefine the theatrical release by playing a combination of conventional theaters, community screenings and festivals. I promise this will be informative for filmmakers and hope to see a lot of you there. And, one more thing: Jon is on the forums until Friday, and we're giving away five copies of his book to the originating posters of the five best threads. So, if you have a question about DIY or hybrid distribution, or even if you are just thinking about making a film and wondering what kind of deep waters you are getting yourself into, speak to Jon online or at the IFC Center.

See you next week.

Best,

Scott Macaulay
Editor

      NEW IN THEATERS
FANTASTIC MR. FOX
Just weeks after the box office success of Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are, fellow indie wunderkind Wes Anderson delivers Fantastic Mr. Fox, his own adaptation of a children's book standard. Based on the much-loved novel by Roald Dahl, Anderson's animated film is visually inspiring and painstakingly rendered in stop-motion. With the help of some familiar acting talents (George Clooney, Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman) the director is able to update his trademark style into a new format that is sure to appeal to a broader, younger audience.

THE MESSENGER
After building a more than respectable resume as a screenwriter -- penning scripts for directors like Ira Sachs (Married Life) and Todd Haynes (I'm Not There) -- Oren Moverman has moved to directing with his debut The Messenger, which follows the Iraq war home to America, observing the way it has reshaped the language, relationships, and self-image of those who have been affected by it. Ben Foster gives a subtle yet emotionally charged portrayal of a wounded soldier returned to the States and assigned to casualty notification. Building a bond with his superior (played by Woody Harrelson), the two battle their own personal demons while trying to do their jobs of relaying death notices to soldiers' next of kin. In our interview with Moverman in the Fall issue he discusses his inspiration for the unique handheld look he uses in the notification scenes. "Definitely Salesman, by the Maysles brothers. The Maysles were kind of like my first job in New York, so I saw all their movies when I was working there as an office PA. Salesman came to mind because it felt like The Messenger is a movie about people who come to the door. It needs a certain kind of urgency of, 'This is happening right now,' which is what Salesman does so beautifully."

DARE
Adapted from a short film of the same name, Adam Salky's Dare is a playful, honest, and at times, disarmingly raunchy coming of age dramedy about three high school seniors (Emmy Rossum, Zack Gilford, Ashley Springer) entangled in a complex love triangle. The film, which made a splash at Sundance, features a cast of relative newcomers, but gains credibility through its deft balance of crass humor and genuine drama, its earnest portrayal of young homosexuality, and its wistful depiction of the uncertainty of adolescence.

FOUR SEASONS LODGE
Four Seasons Lodge, a documentary by New York Times journalist Andrew Jacobs, follows the members of a Catskills-based summer colony for Holocaust survivors as they slowly reach the decision to close down their community. Perhaps the most laudable aspect of Jacobs' documentary, which oscillates frequently between moments of humor and gravity, is the consistent focus on character. Rather than attempt to use its subject matter to make a grand, moralizing statement, Four Seasons Lodge chooses simply to present the complex and frayed humanity of each of its elderly subjects.

      RECENT BLOGS

This week on the blog, Scott Macaulay highlights a creative use of the famous Howard Beale (played by Peter Finch, pictured left) "Mad as Hell" speech from Network, looks at Astra Taylor's "Raising Creative Kids" talk and Jason Guerrasio learns of Sundance's plans of bringing the 2010 festival to a theater near you.

To read more posts from our blog, click here.

      UPCOMING AT IFP
BEST FILM NOT PLAYING AT A THEATER NEAR YOU™ SERIES ON THE HORIZON
The Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You™ Screening Series, presented in partnership with The Museum of Modern Art, kicks off November 19th at MoMA. The Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You™ award, sponsored by Stella Artois, is given annually as part of the Gotham Independent Film Awards™ to the most outstanding independent film of the year without theatrical distribution in place. The five nominated films - all critically acclaimed from the 2009 festival circuit - will screen at MoMA from November 19 - 22. Most screenings will be followed by a Q & A with the filmmakers: Frazer Bradshaw (Everything Strange and New), Damien Chazelle (Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench), Michael Palmieri & Donal Mosher (October Country), Ry Russo-Young (You Wont Miss Me) and Tariq Tapa (Zero Bridge). Nominees for the award were selected by the editorial staff of Filmmaker, and Josh Siegel, Associate Curator, MoMA Department of Film from recommendations by critics, festival programmers and curators. See MoMA screening schedule.

      NEWEST WEB ARTICLE
DAVID SIEGEL & SCOTT MCGEHEE, UNCERTAINTY
By Brandon Harris

If one had only a single adjective with which to describe the body of work that directing team David Siegel and Scott McGehee have crafted over the past decade and a half, cerebral immediately jumps to mind. In Uncertainty Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lynn Collins play a young New York couple who are at a loss as to how to spend their Fourth of July; should they go to her families' Brooklyn enclave, where during the course of a long holiday dinner party various secrets and disappointments may unavoidably be revealed, or should they go to Manhattan to celebrate at a friends apartment? The film allows the couple to indulge in both choices with the help of some metaphysical chicanery; They dash to opposite ends of the bridge separately, only to inexplicably meet the other upon arriving in Brooklyn and Manhattan. read more

      FESTIVAL DEADLINES

NOVEMBER
Nashville Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Nov. 15
Festival Dates: April 15-22

Alaska International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Nov. 15, May 15 (Final)
Festival Dates: July 15-16

True/False Film Fest
Submission Deadline: Nov. 16 (Final)
Festival Dates: Feb. 25-28

      JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Our Forums page is new and improved! Check out the new categories: how to make films, discuss the current trends in the business, job opportunities and look out for guest filmmaker moderators. Click here to get started.

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